My Own Backyard

Top 4 Nature Escapes in Dallas

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I haven’t been up to much besides a relaxing yet fun weekend in Texas Hill Country and an afternoon of kayaking on the Trinity River. The latter is what brings me to today’s post.

I love the diversity of activities Dallas offers, but there are times when I need to escape the city for an afternoon. Here are my four favorite spots (at least so far) where you can enjoy some nature without straying far from the Big D:

1. Trinity River
I’ve kayaked down Trinity River twice now, and it’s such a relaxing day trip that you forget you’re in Dallas. The first time I went with a guided tour group hosted by the Trinity River Audubon Center. This was great because the staff pointed out birds and other wildlife – we saw a beaver among other creatures. It was pricier than going on your own, but well worth having the short instructional session beforehand and hearing the knowledge of our guides during the trip. Then a friend and I went on our own after renting two single kayaks for $40 each from Trinity River Kayak Co. The trip was about 2.5 hours long and the staff was very friendly and helpful.

kayak trinity river

Guided river adventure with the Trinity River Audubon Center

2. Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve
I’ve only been once, but Cedar Ridge is probably my favorite nearby escape. It has the best trails from what I’ve experienced in the area. I mean, there are actual climbs and descents on the trail! If I’m remembering the names correctly, I took the Fossil Valley trail and Cattail Pond trail. There was definitely a crowd there, but I didn’t mind at all. It was about a 30 minute drive from my home in the center of Dallas and well worth it. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photographs.

3. Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve
To be honest, this park in Plano is what started my quest for finding the green parts of Dallas which in turn inspired Road and Air. There are great trails for both biking and hiking – I mostly stuck to the Caddo Trail. It was just at the beginning of spring so the scattered wildflowers  and butterflies were the most colorful sight against gray sky and leafless trees.

oakpoint1

4. Oak Cliff Nature Preserve
I hiked the trails here once after a late and delicious lunch at one of my favorite places, The Foundry in Oak Cliff. The nature preserve was a bit out of my way, but I was so glad I went. I MUST come back with a mountain bike though. My friend and I were the only ones exploring on foot and the trails just looked like so much fun on a bicycle. There are miles and miles of trail, but we just took Loop 1 which brought us to the shrine of bicycles, signs and other objects you see below. It was a fun surprise in the middle of wooded Oak Cliff.

I must stress that this is my “at least so far” list. I’ve lived in Dallas for a year and only recently started to embrace what the city has to offer. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some other gems out there I’m missing. So, please, share any in the comments below.